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11 Apr, 2014 20:58

Greenwald to RT: Germany must speak to Snowden about NSA surveillance

Journalist Glenn Greenwald told RT on Friday that Germany should invite former United States intelligence contractor Edward Snowden to testify there about government surveillance.

Speaking to reporters on American soil for the first time after he began to report on the former US National Security Agency analyst, Greenwald told RT that “it would be incredibly irresponsible for the German Commission to try and pretend to investigate surveillance on German soil without speaking to the one person who knows more about that and is willing to talk to them than anybody in the world.”

“So if they want to have as serious investigation, they can do that only if they are willing to bring Mr. Snowden to Germany and ask him questions,” Greenwald told RT.

Greenwald spoke to RT's Anastasia Churkina shortly after touching down at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York City early Friday to receive a Polk journalism award in person for his work reporting on documents disclosed by Snowden, a former US NSA contractor who started leaking previously secret files about the government’s vast surveillance apparatus last June.

“It feels good” to be back in the United States after returning to US for the first time since breaking the NSA surveillance scandal last year, Greenwald said. “I am happy to be here.”

American-born Greenwald had stayed out of US ever since Snowden revealed himself as the source of those leaked documents 10 months ago, but flew in from Germany early Friday to accept the accolade along with colleague, filmmaker Laura Poitras, who also played an instrumental role in reporting on Mr. Snowden and his associated leaks. He has spent the last several years living in Brazil with his partner, David Miranda.

Previously, Greenwald said he was concerned about returning back to the US after American lawmakers voiced concerns that the journalist could face legal issues at home due to his work on the NSA. Last year, Miranda was detained and interrogated at a London airport while allegedly traveling with sensitive documents. British officials used a controversial terrorism provision to question Miranda for nine hours — the maximum time allowed by law — before ultimately releasing him. Afterward, Greenwald said” The actions of the UK pose a serious threat to journalists everywhere” and“is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ.”

In November, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Florida) wrote Attorney General Eric Holder seeking assurance that Greenwald would not risk facing a similar outcome if he returned to the US. Only this week, however, did the journalist finally make the trip back.

Speaking to RT in New York City during Friday’s awards ceremony, Greenwald said he encountered no obstacles on his flight to the US — something he said he had expected.

“We didn’t think that the US government would do something really counter-productive, and they didn’t, so we’re happy about that,” he said.

Greenwald and Poitras were awarded this year’s honors along with journalists Ewen MacAskill and Barton Gellman of the Guardian and Washington Post, respectively, who also covered the NSA leaks extensively. The Polk awards are presented annually to journalists recognized for outstanding work in news reporting, and is named for former CBS correspondent George Polk.